Hard Case begins in a back alley warehouse in East Oakland, CA, where Harding fights for money, and to keep his skills honed, coupled with the fact he likes it. Harding does odd jobs with the only guy he trusts implicitly, his handler and manager, Tommy Sands. They bodyguard, escort tourists around the Bay Area, and do bail bond, skip trace work for a lawyer named Tess Connagher.
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To achieve these objectives, Harding's CIA boss, Denny Strobert, introduces two new cold blooded killers to John Harding's Oakland crew, Clint Dostiene and Lynn Montoya. Strobert has big plans for Lynn Montoya once she's freelancing with Harding's crew in the future too - he needs a woman on the West Coast Murderer's Row not afraid to get her hands or her knife dirty.
John Harding’s Murderer’s Row uncovers a name while on a standard protection gig. Soon, they’re plunging into a South American jungle stronghold on a snatch and grab rescue. Under Lynn Montoya’s knife, they learn the kingpin financier’s identity spreading chaos around the world. Harding and his crew race from one locale to the next, one step ahead of a brutal financial puppet master’s plans to wipe them out even after his death. In addition to his ongoing missions, Harding has agreed to fight a behemoth nicknamed ‘The Destroyer' in the converted Oakland warehouse with rigged judges.
Thanks to Lynn Montoya, nicknamed Cruella Deville, the crew gets a bonus when she initiates a plan to lure the Muslim Brotherhood gang readying to be dispersed across the nation into a public trap. A successful sting leads out in spiraling directions with terrorist plots involving Alexi Fiialkov's container shipping line. Soon, the crew launches a rescue mission for Fiialkov's granddaughter, and entraps the architect of a weaponized anthrax threat. The kid gloves are off, and the bodies begin piling up.
A Bulgarian arms dealer known as the Ghost moves into Harding's turf with sights on controlling the ports. Supplying terrorist cells with electromagnet pulse weapons capable of blacking out major cities, the Ghost puts a bounty on Harding's West Coast Avengers.